Image courtesy of the World Boxing Super Series
Usyk and Gassiev are confident heading into WBSS final
This past Saturday Murat Gassiev etched his name in the minds of many a fan with his performance against the previously undefeated Yunier Dorticos. The two met in the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series in Sochi, Russia. The fight was also a unification bout as Gassiev put his IBF Cruiserweight title on the line and Dorticos, who had just been promoted to ‘Super’ champion, added his WBA belt.
Gassiev was able to stop Dorticos in the twelfth round when he knocked him down three times with the last one being through the ropes. The win sends the Russian native to the final on May 14th in Saudi Arabia to face WBC & WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Usyk won a twelve round decision over then WBC champion Mairis Breidis the previous weekend in Riga, Latvia. The winner between Gassiev and Usyk will be the first undisputed cruiserweight champion in over twelve years. O’Neil Bell was the last to accomplish the feat when he won it in January of 2006 but was stripped in April of his IBF title due to pulling out of a bout with Steve Cunningham.
While Gassiev is a slight underdog against the former Ukrainian gold medalist, he remains confident he will win and even has bigger goals in mind. Speaking to a gathered crowd and the press at the Beslan airport in his hometown of North Ossetia Gassiev stressed the importance of winning his next fight but also mentioned his desire to move up to the heavyweight division.
“I would like to change my weight division, go to heavyweight, because it is the most prestigious… I want to try my hand there. At the moment, I’m still in the cruiserweight division and I need to win my next fight to become the absolute champion of the world, and then we will see,” said Gassiev.
There was more than 3 thousand people from his hometown there to meet Gassiev at the airport. According to the press release the crowd had been gathered for several hours awaiting on the champs arrival from Sochi. Gassiev was overwhelmed with emotion from the huge turnout.
“Thank you all for arriving and meeting me at this late hour, this is our common victory. I felt your support from the stands during the fight. I saw our flags of Alania, it was very pleasant,” Gassiev stated while he addressed the crowd.
Usyk has previously stayed his intentions after the WBSS was to move up to heavyweight as well. When asked about his upcoming fight with Gassiev and if moving to heavyweight was still his desire Usyk told 3KingsBoxing.com
“Murat is very good fighter but I am very good to.” As far as moving up to heavyweight and a possible matchup with Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder. “Yes. Heavyweight is where I want to fight after Muhammad Ali trophy. Of course either of those guys will be good fight.”
By: Chris Henderson